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Our Date With Grace

MEXICO | Wednesday, 18 August 2021 | Views [139]

On a collision course with Hurricane Grace at Merida

On a collision course with Hurricane Grace at Merida

WE HAVE PRETTY MUCH ABANDONED ERIC’S well-planned itinerary, partly due to a hurricane named Grace but mostly because we are ahead of schedule, bird-wise. After Eric’s audible yesterday we headed out towards Ixpujil in the Mexican state of Campeche, a five-plus hour drive, stopping for an early picnic lunch along the way. 


       Yucatan Jay

Our first birding stop was at Calakmul Reserva de la Biosphera, about an hour short of Ixpuijil. The Calakmul Archeological Site lies 60 KM inside but we traveled less than half that, windows open and listening for Yucatan Jays, Green-backed Sparrows, Grey-throated Chats and Ocellated Turkeys. 


               Green-backed Sparrow

My hearing may be deficient but I am pretty good at spotting birds. I noticed a single Jay fly across the road and by the time we got our binoculars and cameras ready there were a dozen noisily hopping from limb to limb. As they melted away into the rainforest, Eric heard the Green-backed Sparrow vocalizing. When he posed from a photogenic perch I began clicking away. Two down. 


              Ocellated Turkey

As we stopped to check out a small pond, what appeared to be a solitary Ocellated Turkey morphed into two, then four, then five. We had several good looks at both male and female Grey-throated Chats but weren’t able to get good photos. A more cooperative male appeared on our way out of the park and we had four of our targets already in the bag. 


                Grey-throated Chat

Despite several stops calling for Yucatan Woodpeckers, we came up empty. But as we were driving into the Chicanná EcoVillage where we are spending the night, two obligingly flew to the treetops and posed for us. We later glimpsed Yellow-lored Parrots flying away but will have other chances to see them better in the next few days.


            Yucatan Woodpecker, Chicanná EcoVillage

The EcoVillage is charming—the only thing missing is air-con and wifi in the rooms—and I wouldn’t mind staying a few nights as planned. But with all of the birds we hoped to see in two days already checked off, Eric cancelled our reservation here for tomorrow night and moved up our reservation in Merida in the state of Yucatan, another half-day drive.


        Our Cottage, Chicanná EcoVillage

Hurricane Grace, which is making landfall at Tulum, is scheduled to reach Merida tomorrow about the same time as we are but the forecast for Friday looks fine for birding. Insha Allah.😉


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